Dream Walkin'

Dream Walkin'

Though Dream Walkin’ lacks the thematic focus of Boomtown and Blue Moon, it's fuller-sounding and more self-assured than any previous Toby Keith album. “We Were In Love” and “You Don’t Anymore” suggest a link to adult-contemporary singing and songwriting that is made explicit in “I’m So Happy I Can’t Stop Crying,” a duet with Sting (who wrote it) that works surprisingly well and ends up being one of the album’s highlights. Even as he delivers some of his most tender performances, Keith underscores his roadhouse flavor with “Jacky Don Tucker,” “Double Wide Paradise,” and “She Ran Away With a Rodeo Clown.” Meanwhile, “I Don’t Understand My Girlfriend” is a hard-bitten take on the classic Bakersfield swing of Buck Owens. Dream Walkin’ features a diversity of material and a weightier presence in Keith, but “Tired” is the song that elevated his craft. It avoids the brassy hooks of modern country, and instead conjures a mix of worn-down feeling and working-class pride. There are only a few artists who can sell that kind of song, and with his fourth album Toby Keith proves he is one of them.

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